02-20-2020 Columns; School news & calendars

HHS WINTERFEST ROYALTY… was crowned last Friday, Feb. 14 during halftime of the Hartford Indians thrilling 64-60 overtime win over the Mendon Hornets. The four students crowned are (from the left): seniors Yovana Naranjo and Elijah Ledesma (king and queen), sophomore Khashya McCoy (princess) and junior Jacob Morales (prince). The Lady Indians began the evening with a 48-25 thump of the Lady Hornets to make it a double win for the Green & White in front of a big Winterfest home crowd. (Photo courtesy of the Hartford Public Schools Facebook page)

Infant Safe Sleep

There have been dramatic improvements in reducing baby deaths during sleep since the 1990s, when recommendations were introduced to place babies on their back for sleep. However, since the late 1990s, declines have slowed. More than 3,500 babies in the U.S. still die suddenly and unexpectedly every year while sleeping. Experts recommend several steps for all parents and caregivers to take to provide a safe sleep environment for their babies: Until their first birthday, babies should sleep on their backs for all sleep times—for naps and at night. We know babies who sleep on their backs are much less likely to die of SIDS than babies who sleep on their stomachs or sides. Some parents worry that babies will choke when on their backs, but the baby’s airway anatomy and the gag reflex will keep that from happening. Use a firm sleep surface, like a crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard that meets the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). It is recommended to also use a tight-fitting, firm mattress and fitted sheet designed for that particular product. Nothing else should be in the crib except for the baby. Be sure that there are no blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, or bumper pads around your baby, so that your baby does not roll into any of those items, which could cause blockage of air flow. Room share, but never bed share – keep baby’s sleep area in the same room where you sleep for the first six months or, ideally, for the first year. Room sharing will make it easier for you to feed, comfort, and watch your baby. To learn more about recommended actions for keeping babies safe while sleeping, visit the Berrien County Health Department at www.bchdmi.org.

Ready to retire? Apply online with Social Security

It’s never too early to start planning for retirement and our online tools can help. Go to www.socialsecurity.gov/ myaccount to access your “my Social Security” account to get a personalized estimate of your retirement benefits based on your earnings record. Once you have an account, you can use our Retirement Calculator, to check out how your benefits change at different ages. Don’t have a “my Social Security” account? You can create one at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount or you can use our online Retirement Estimator to get benefit estimates at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. You can also use your “my Social Security” account to see your entire work history to be sure we have all of your wages recorded correctly, which is important because we base your benefit amount on the earnings reported to us. If you find an error with your work history, read this publication for more information: www.socialsecurity.gov/ pubs/EN-05-10081.pdf. When you’re ready to apply for Social Security retirement benefits, you can conveniently complete our online application in as little as 15 minutes at w